How to work effectively as and with a placement student – a success story with Katie and Claire


Have you ever considered to work with a placement student?
Do you consider to spend some time as a placement student yourself?

In this interview with Katie Thorn and Claire Brittain, we’re exploring factors, which help to make it a win for both sides. Both have worked very well together and share their stories. We step into questions such as:

  • How does the hiring process looks like in the UK?
  • What are characteristics to look for in a placement student?
  • Which kind of projects and tasks to delegate to a placement student and how to bring the placement student up to speed?
  • How working with a placement student can speed up your success as a supervisor?

Listen to this interview and share it with others, who might be interested!

About Claire Brittain

Claire has worked in medical statistics for 15 years, mostly in early phase pharmaceuticals at GSK, Eli Lilly and more recently UCB.
After a secondment to preclinical in her GSK-years she became interested in translational and methodology studies, taking pleasure from making statistics pragmatic, and putting science at the heart of any discussion.
Claire has served many years on PSI CALC offering careers talks/advice/workshops to children and students aged 5 to 25. She will tell you that students are never too young to learn that maths can be used for more than just finance and accounting; it can save lives.Claire has initiated statistical placement student programs at Eli Lilly and UCB andsupervised students for 10+ years. She is proud of every one of them.
When not at work you’ll tend to find Claire with her feet attached to a wakeboard, chasing her 3 small boys or with a glass of rum and coke in her hand… usually not all at the same time!

About Katie Thorn

Find Katies profile here on LinkedIn.

Katie was first introduced to the pharmaceutical industry through her placement year which formed part of her undergraduate degree. This year encouraged her to continue studying medical statistics and ultimately return to the industry, where she has been working for the past 4 years at Eli Lilly and now GSK. Since returning to industry Katie has had the opportunity to be involved in the recruitment and supervision of placement students many of whom are now starting their own careers in medical statistics.

Katie is a member of the PSI CALC committee which aims to promote and raise awareness of careers in medical statistics to students of all ages. She particularly enjoys working with schools to encourage students to study statistics to a higher level as these events usually produce the most varied and interesting questions!

Outside of work Katie is a keen runner, cyclist and walker, however these are all done primarily to counteract her main love of cooking and eating.

Further reading and useful links:

PSI Careers Home Page

Student Placements

Job Roles in Pharma Industry

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